Wednesday, August 12, 2015

Colleges in the 2016 crosshairs - Kimberly Heffling, Politico

Tuition sticker prices, adjusted for inflation, have tripled for public four-year colleges and more than doubled for private ones in the last three decades — helping push higher education issues into the forefront. And the nation faces a collective $1.2 trillion in student loan debt. There’s a fear among many voters that they or their children will be shut out of higher education altogether. But the Democrats will have to come up with big bucks to pay for their proposals. And the GOP will have to go beyond criticizing the higher ed establishment to come up with solutions at scale. For a higher education community used to autonomy and valuing the intellectual pursuit of a degree — not just the salary it leads to — the focus from across the political spectrum is in many ways terrifying, said Barmak Nassirian, director of federal policy analysis at American Association of State Colleges and Universities. “My worry is that we’ll end up with a series of politically appealing messages that represent really lousy policy,” Nassirian said.

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